I have had countless experiences where I am asked about my profession and when I announce that I am a CranioSacral Therapist, I am met with a bewildered response. Many have not heard of CranioSacral Therapy. It sounds intriguing and exotic. However, what is it? I always start with my CranioSacral elevator speech (short and concise). CranioSacral Therapy is a light touch manual therapy that assesses and helps to release strains and irritations on the nervous system. It is a manual therapy that was developed by Dr. John Upledger and it is based on neuroscience and osteopathic principles. This explanation satisfies many persons’ basic questions. However, CranioSacral Therapy is so much more.
Ultimately our brain and spinal cord are responsible for everything we are…our thoughts, memories, motor actions within and outside our bodies, sensation, and consciousness. Our CranioSacral system is comprised of the brain, spinal cord, cerebrospinal fluid and meninges. Since our brain and cord are so important for our body, we have four layers of tissue to protect them.
- The first layer is a specialized fluid that is only found around the brain and cord. It is called Cerebrospinal fluid and it cushions the CranioSacral system from any shocks and helps to nourish and detoxify it.
- The second layer is a unique form of connective tissue called the meninges. The meninges are only found over the brain and cord. It acts like a water balloon helping to encase the Cerebrospinal fluid over the brain and cord.
- The third layer is the skull and spinal column. Bone is strong but yet flexible and it shelters our vital organs.
- Lastly, we have fascia encasing the skull, vertebral column, spinal nerves and cranial nerves exiting these bony structures. Fascia is a stretchy connective tissue that surrounds and protects all things in our body. It surrounds our muscles, bones, blood and lymph vessels, nerves and organs, helping to interconnect all of these structures. Fascia creates unity within our body.
With these four layers of tissue surrounding the brain and cord, the CranioSacral system is safe and uninterrupted to perform its daily tasks. However, if any trauma or repetitive strain happens to the body, it could create tension or strain in any of these tissues. If there is tension in the tissues, it could create pressure, pulling, or irritation to the nervous system deep within. The brain and cord do not react kindly to any irritation. Depending on where the irritation is found, it could create erroneous neuronal firing which could equal increased pain, numbness, improper response to the muscles or organs, poor cognition and memory. With gentle manual techniques, the tension can be isolated and released.
Common conditions that CranioSacral therapy can help are:
- spinal pain
Ultimately, CranioSacral Therapy can be helpful for countless conditions because it encourages better performance from the nervous system. On top of all of the benefits of CranioSacral Therapy, it is also very relaxing. It aids in slowing down our commonly upregulated nervous systems. Regardless of the reason someone seeks CranioSacral Therapy, they all comment on how relaxed they feel afterwards. In 2017, we are in a constant fight or flight lifestyle. This is not healthy. We all need to slow down and disengage. Our system is not designed to run on overdrive long-term. Do yourself a favor, slow down and schedule a CranioSacral session. Your body will thank you for it!